After a long, compressed grind of a season, the NBA playoffs, draft, and free agency were all crammed into the first two months of summer. So you might have missed some things that happened with the Dallas Mavericks. Have no fear. I’ve got the offseason summed up in a handy Q&A for you. Read on to discover what the Mavericks did and didn’t do while you were out at the lake this summer.
The Mavericks didn’t have any draft picks in this year’s NBA draft. Why not?
They made trades that have largely been unsuccessful. It sucks! But as Oklahoma City Thunder GM/philosopher Sam Presti once said, scared money don’t make none. The Mavericks owed their 2021 first round pick to the New York Knicks as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. And they owed their second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the J.J. Redick trade from this season. Both trades made sense at the time, but it still stings that they couldn’t do anything in this year’s draft.
Could they have traded into the first round for a pick? They’ve traded cash considerations for a first round pick in the past.
Unlikely. First round picks have become very valuable, and the days of franchises trading them simply for cash are over.
I really thought the Mavericks were going to make big changes this summer. What happened?
First time here, huh? I’m sorry to tell you this, but there’s often a lot of big talk leading up to the summer. The Mavericks aren’t satisfied with this, they’re trading for that. It often ends in rejection by the biggest names on the market and the signing of some guys you really have to talk yourself into. If you’re new to this, I can understand how it can be frustrating. If you’ve been a fan for a while, you’re probably just numb inside like me.
I think the Mavericks should have gone after DeMar DeRozan. Why didn’t they?
Are you sure you wanted DeRozan on the Mavericks? Or are you just so desperate for above average players that you were willing to overlook the fact that he’d be a horrible fit with Dallas? It’s understandable. After years of the Seth Currys and Delon Wrights of the world being the offseason prize, I get wanting a former all-star on the team. Even if he can’t shoot 3-pointers (28% for his career), and actually refuses to shoot from behind the arc (1.2 attempts per game last season). DeRozan hates 3-pointers like I hate traffic. So it’s probably for the best that he’s not on the Mavericks, but I see why you yearned after him. Beggars can’t be choosers, after all.
Did the Mavericks really have a chance at landing Kyle Lowry?
Based on the NBA’s current tampering investigation into the sign and trade that sent Lowry to the Miami Heat, it’s unlikely Dallas had a chance at landing the former all-star point guard. It’s a familiar outcome for Mavericks fans, but I will say, things seem different this time. Early in the offseason, there was some conjecture that the Mavericks would go after Kawhi Leonard, which is the type of farfetched dream Dallas has been known to sit on their hands and wait for. But they quickly backed away from Leonard, and it seems like they knew they were going to be runner-up to Lowry as well.
The problem is, they didn’t want to sign anyone other than Lowry. So they passed on players like Lonzo Ball, and as far as we know, weren’t very aggressive in the trade market. Maybe we should be encouraged that the new Mavericks front office didn’t wait around for free agents who they knew wouldn’t sign with them, but the result still feels just as disappointing.
Do the signings of Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown move the needle for the Mavericks?
Sort of. It definitely helps them in the regular season. Bullock ostensibly replaces Josh Richardson, who was a disaster in the rotation last year. If he can shoot consistently from behind the arc and play good defense, then the Mavericks upgraded a roster spot. The same goes for Brown. Dallas tried several different players in two rotation spots last year, and none of them — James Johnson, J.J. Redick, Nicolo Melli, Wes Iwundu — worked out. All of them were completely unplayable, and Richardson was as well by the end of the season.
So if Bullock and Brown can actually provide quality minutes for the Mavericks, it’s a huge win. But I don’t think that changes their ceiling in the playoffs. Their success will largely be determined by who they face and if the role players on the team hit their open 3-pointers. That’s no different than the Mavericks of the last two seasons.
Why isn’t Josh Green playing in Summer League?
A: I don’t know, and it’s frustrating. I’m not completely sold on Green, but I haven’t seen him play enough to make a decision one way or the other. He’s had no offseason activities with the Mavericks, and based on what we’ve heard about their schedule last year, very little practice time. Green only played 445 minutes last season, 37th among all rookies. He only played 14 total minutes in the Olympics. I really don’t know why the Mavericks wouldn’t have him play at least a few games in the Summer League, especially since he’s there anyway. This tracks with the haphazard way they’ve handled young players lately, so we’ll just have to wait until next season to see if Green has improved in any way.
Should I be excited about any of the players on the Summer League roster?
You can feel however you want. It’s a free country after all. But there’s no one that really intrigues me. Tyrell Terry looks to be too small to contribute to a playoff team anytime soon. Nate Hinton doesn’t thrill me, either. There are some athletic guys on the roster, like EJ Onu, who look tantalizing in highlight reels. But typically if someone is a 6’11 athletic freak with basketball skills, they get discovered in this country. They don’t go undrafted. Onu’s NAIA leading 4.5 blocks per game is interesting, though. The Mavericks signed Eugene Omoruyi to their final two-way spot, as he was by far the most impressive looking Maverick in summer league.
Is there a big trade coming before training camp starts?
I sure hope so, considering how many centers are on the roster, but don’t hold your breath. The Mavericks seem to be okay with going into next season with the guys they have right now. That may be good enough to improve in the regular season, but they may not have the players they need to make a dent in the playoffs.